VAT rise hits leisure in city

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VAT increases and inflation are to push up the cost of sport and leisure activities in Portsmouth.

Portsmouth City Council will increase its charges for use of sports pitches, as well as allotment rental charges, and beach huts, in line with inflation of 4.7 per cent, and the coalition-imposed VAT leap from 17.5-20 per cent.

It means the cost for a cricket pitch for one day at Drayton Park will increase from 78.50 to 83.90, or at St Helen's Field, Southsea, from 110.70 to 118.40.

Full-sized football pitches will cost 45.80 to hire, up from 42.80, rugby pitches 43.60 from last year's 40.80.

Allotment hire, which is exempt from VAT, will increase in cost from 61 per year for a ten-rod plot, to 62.22, from April.

On the seafront, sun huts at Eastney, St George's Road, Southsea, and Lumps Fort, will all increase in charge from 562 per year, to 600.

The increases will be decided by Portsmouth City Council's head of leisure, Lee Hunt, on Thursday.